DeKalb’s past alive in ‘Acres’

By Matt Carlson

The history of DeKalb County has been recorded by local historians in an upcoming book, “Acres of Change.”

The DeKalb Area Agricultural Heritage Association brought authors of “Acres of Change,” which examines the history of DeKalb, to speak about the book with local residents Wednesday. The association is a non-profit organization that started 12 years ago and deals with agriculture in northern Illinois.

One of the contributing authors of “Acres of Change” is Sue Breese, a lifelong DeKalb resident and the DeKalb County historian.

“There was a previous book which ended in 1963, so this picks up from ’63 to 2012 with the history of the county,” Breese said. “We thought that now was a good time because we have a lot of people who were around in 1963 who actually have firsthand accounts of what was going on.”

The book is 12 chapters long, and each chapter focuses on a new topic. Some of the topics include agriculture, medical and education.

The agriculture chapter was co-written by Breese and focuses on the advancements of farming.

“We went from harvesting to now where we’re GPS guided. Farmers are in air-conditioned units with radio and that kind of stuff, some major changes,” Breese said. “… It’s important to have that history down for future generations.”

The education chapter, which focuses on NIU, is written by alumni Terry and Sherry Martin.

“It includes some of the controversial things that occurred and unfortunate things that occurred over the 50 years,” Martin said.

This is not the only event put on by the association, said Emerson Wells, a member of the organization.

“We hold six of these a year and three open houses at the museum,” Wells said.

The museum is located in the upper story of the Nehring Gallery, 111 S. Second St.